Work by researchers at the University of Cumbria is helping to shape the future of midwifery education nationally.

In 2022, Health Education England, currently NHS England, initiated a thorough segment of work following the Kirkup and Ockenden reports on maternity provisions.

This included evaluating midwifery pre-registration education and training, thereby illustrating learners' clinical experiences feedback.

Academic staff from the University's Health and Society Knowledge Exchange (HASKE) were subsequently contacted by NHS England to execute a thematic analysis of the data collated through midwifery training reviews and the experiences of recently qualified professionals.

This key investigation featured the analysis of data from more than 125 focus groups and 1,400 students and new midwives, aiming to identify the characteristics of outstanding training.

The outcomes produced by the specialist evaluation unit, operating under the university's renowned Institute of Health, have been integrated into the new NHS England Safe Learning Environment Charter.

This charter, in direct correspondence with the NHS Long-Term Workforce Plan, aims to enhance workforce quality by promoting superior learning settings, reducing learner attrition, and bolstering the retention of newly qualified personnel.

Professor Tom Grimwood, who also serves as the head of the University of Cumbria's Graduate School, leads HASKE.

Celebrated for his academic and fiction books, Mr Grimwood is a central member of the university team partnering with Cumberland Council to establish a new research centre of excellence, examining local health-related issues that impact individuals in north and west Cumbria.

News and Star: Professor Tom Grimwood

He said: "I think HASKE provides a distinctive conduit for a range of academic ideas to engage with the pressing demands and challenges of service delivery.

"Successful evaluation is all about creating a dialogue between the expertise of practitioners and academics across the university."

He further added: "University of Cumbria has provided a unique space for me to develop my work in philosophy in conjunction with health and care practitioners, and I was very pleased to be able to present some of these ideas in my inaugural professorial lecture."

The lecture series, organised by the university after he was recently conferred with the title of Professor of Social Philosophy, will end with the final instalment led by Professor Amanda Taylor-Beswick, a professor of digital and social sciences and Director of the Centre for Digital Transformation at the University of Cumbria.